What qualifications make a successful daycare provider?
I chose to do daycare for my undeniable love of children. The fact that it was going to allow me to stay home with my own children was a bonus. But it was an incredible bonus. I loved the fact that when they were babies, I got to spend every waking hour with them and experience all the firsts with them. As they got older, I appreciated the fact that I was the one who woke them up each morning, fed them breakfast and put them on the school bus. When the bus came back in the afternoon, I was there at the door to greet them and ask how their day was. (Of course, they had to tell me about their day really fast because I had to get back to the daycare kids.) But I was there. I was there for them when they got sick. (That meant many trips up and down the stairs balancing sick kids with running a daycare.) But I was there.
Of the qualifications needed, organizational skills are the single, most important item. One of the most common questions I receive is "How do you feed twelve kids at a time?" The answer: Organization. You need to be organized with the paperwork necessary to run the business. You need to be organized because of the number of toys and supplies required to care for that number of children. And you need to be organized in order to keep things running smoothly in the daily operations of the daycare.
Being able to handle stressful situations is another qualification needed for success. Taking care of several children at a time is going to cause stress. It might be that you have a couple of children misbehaving at the same time or it might be that three different kids won’t take their nap. How will you handle the stress these situations cause? You will also experience stress while interacting with the parents of your daycare children. You can’t just explode and yell at them. You won’t have much of a business left. You need to be able to take a deep breath and calmly discuss any concerns that arise and be a problem-solver.
You must practice good people skills. First, this will come into play during the interviewing process. You have to sell yourself and your business. You need to be able to "read" your prospective clients and play into what they are looking for. Once they become your clients, your people skills are again needed while dealing with them on a day-to-day basis. I don’t have to like the parents that walk in my door each morning, but they cannot know that I don’t like them. If they feel negativity, I don’t have a client anymore. The daycare business is different that a lot of businesses. We’re not dealing with our clients once or occasionally. We’re dealing with our clients every single day.
A successful daycare provider must possess exceptional parenting techniques. You need to be a better parent than any of your daycare parents. That’s not meant as a knock to any of your daycare parents, but the truth is, they’re parenting a couple of kids while you’re parenting many more. You should always be looking for more information and always be willing to learn more. If you want to enjoy your job and enjoy the children who will be coming into your home every single day, then you must be the best in your field. Your field is parenting.
The hours are long and the work is hard. Your daycare will need to open before parents need to be at work in the morning. You need to stay open long enough to allow them to finish work and then drive time to your home. That totals up to about a ten hour work day for you. Much of the training required to maintain a license is acquired weekday evenings. Weekends are used for cleaning and shopping for groceries. You have paperwork that needs to be done and craft projects to be prepared. If you’re willing to put in this kind of time and effort, than daycare can be a profitable and rewarding business.
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Marcia Reagan is the creator of DaycareAnswers and lives in Central Minnesota with her husband and two children. She's been an in-home daycare provider for over twenty years and loves to share her experience and passion for daycare with other providers.